Launch Date Apr. 2, 1964
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia |
Launch Site 1
Destination Venus
Type Impact (Flyby and Lander)
Status Partial Success
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names 1964-016D, 00785


Zond 1 was intended to be a Venus impact probe, but it wound up being an inert flyby that accomplished some science before contact was lost.


The Soviets lost contact with the spacecraft about halfway through its journey, but not before making two major course corrections—the first time such actions were performed on a Soviet interplanetary spacecraft. After Zond 1 flew by Venus at a range of about 100,000 km (62,000 miles), the Soviets published some data on cosmic-ray flux that Zond 1 had measured.

Key Dates

Apr. 2, 1964: Launch
May 25, 1964: Contact Lost
July 19, 1964: Venus Flyby (Unsuccessful)

In Depth

Although this Venus impact probe was successfully sent toward Venus, ground controllers discovered a series of major malfunctions in the spacecraft during its coast to the planet. These included depressurization of the main spacecraft bus when the glass cover of a solar-stellar attitude-control sensor cracked. Additionally, the internal radio transmitters of the spacecraft were automatically switched on at the wrong time—during depressurization, when the gas discharge created high-voltage currents that shorted out the system.

Contact was maintained with the still-pressurized 290-kilogram lander module until 25 May 1964, by which time controllers had managed to conduct two major course corrections (at 560,000 kilometers and 13 to 14 million kilometers from Earth, respectively), the first time such actions had been performed on a Soviet interplanetary spacecraft.

The inert spacecraft eventually flew by Venus on 19 July 1964 at a range of 110,000 kilometers. The Soviets later published some data on cosmic-ray flux measured by Zond 1.


Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) 8K78 (no. T15000-23)

Spacecraft Mass: 948 kg

Spacecraft Instruments:


  1. radiation detector
  2. charged-particle detector
  3. magnetometer
  4. piezoelectric detector
  5. atomic hydrogen detector


  1. barometer
  2. hermometer
  3. radiation detector
  4. micro-organism detection experiment
  5. atmospheric composition experiment
  6. acidity measurement experiment
  7. electro-conductivity experiment
  8. luminosity experiment

Additional Resources

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Zond 1

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002

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